Flyers have to get it right in Hischier



Only one other time have the Philadelphia Flyers drafted number two overall in the NHL Draft. That was in 2007 when James van Riemsdyk followed future Hall of Famer and number one overall pick, Patrick Kane.

Ten years later, the Flyers are without ‘JVR’ but have the second overall pick in the NHL Draft. Friday night at the United Center in Chicago, GM Ron Hextall has a monster chance to elevate his Flyers team forward after a season that saw the franchise take a giant leap backwards.

The Flyers are expected to select Halifax center Nico Hischier, who played in Halifax this past year. Although unlikely, if the New Jersey Devils select the Swiss forward we will likely see the Flyers opt for Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Personally, Hischier is the best fit for this team moving forward. The Flyers already have dead weight on their roster in Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek and will unfortunately have to continue paying their outrageous contracts. Why? Because no other team in the league wants either player with their respective cap hits.

Nonetheless, Hextall, Hakstol, and the Flyers have to push on and put other guys in the right place the best they can and it starts with Friday’s number two overall pick.

At 6-1, 175 Hischier is tremendous. He’s a dynamic skater who’s quickness separates him from everyone else in his class. He has good speed and has an elite hockey sense. He seems to always know where to be on the ice and is a magnet for the puck.

Hischier rocketed up the rankings after raking in 86 (38G, 48A) points in 57 games for the Halifax Mooseheads this past year. Over the last few years his offensive output and growth have risen aggressively.

There’s been heavy comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk. That’s a bit excessive, however, not bad to at least be mentioned in that conversation. Still, the Flyers could most certainly use a scorer of that caliber on a team who registered one 30-goal scorer and only four players over 50 points. The anemic Flyers offense needs a shot of skill and production, Hischier is that player.

It will be nice to see the likes of Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds play alongside this 18-year old kid.

Steve Kournianos of ‘The Draft Analysis‘ had this to say about Hischier:

“Hischier is an elite center with off-the-charts puck artistry and swift skating that combine into a lethal package. Sly and dangerous, he can strike at a moment’s notice. His agility and escapability are unmatched among draft peers, and at 18 years old his hockey sense is on par with the world’s best young players of any level. And he’s far from just a finesse player — Hischier is a fierce competitor who hates losing whether it’s a one-on-one puck battle or a seven-game series. He can kill penalties, lend support down low and do his best at physically moving opponent’s off the puck. Hischier has a good, accurate shot but it’s the way he fakes and jukes that makes beating goalies all the more simple. Blessed with sick hands, poise and a keen sixth sense, he is next to unstoppable once he takes the puck below the hashmarks.”

Mike Morreale of

“Hischier’s elite skill and hockey sense is combined with a complete level that allows him to be effective in any style of game. Hischier (6-1, 176) was 10th in the QMJHL with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games and was named rookie of the year and best pro prospect in the league.”

I personally believe the Flyers are going to end up with the best player of this draft. Nolan Patrick is real good player, don’t get me wrong, and the Devils will have themselves a franchise player to build around. All things considered, Hischier is the complete package in my book and based off the people I have spoken to about him, I don’t seem to be in the minority at all.

Let’s hope the Flyers get this one right.


Been a while…


It’s been a tad long since I last posted something as a lot has happened in my life since the last time we were here. For this post, I’ll produce bullet points to cover the events over the last month or so.

  • After nearly six years I left my full-time position at The Barclay Group and began a new challenge and journey with another company in Bala Cynwyd, PA. It was a timely change and a blessing as well. I’m in a different spot in my life one where lots of responsibilities are about to become even greater. BG just couldn’t be in my future and that’s just a fact. I’ll miss the camaraderie I developed there, the friendships, and the experience. It was a great place to work for nearly 72 months. I’m grateful for them.
  • Started my new gig on May 30th and it’s been stressful. It is a whole new world and protocol. I am getting the hang of it and things have began to run smoother for me. I am very lucky to be in the situation I am in and am thankful for the opportunity. God continues to provide and I have to trust that He always will.
  • My Bachelor party is set! My groomsmen are second to none. They really are. I do not deserve them. Nonetheless, we will all be heading to Brooklyn, NY on August 20th for ‘The biggest party of the Summer’ WWE Summerslam! Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling about this. There isn’t a more perfect situation for a Bachelor party designed for me. This will be a night I’ll always remember and sharing with my best friends in life means everything.
  • Sadly, I’m beginning to come to the realization that my baseball ‘career’ is coming to an end. Physically, I feel better than I ever have. I’m 30 but I feel 20. There’s extenuating circumstances as to why I’ve reached this point and I won’t get into them here but after 25 years it may be time to ride off into the sunset. We will see what happens after July. I won’t need to make a decision until January of 2018 but as of right now I don’t envision myself running on a diamond next summer. There’s a lot of things I want to do with my weekends in the Summer than baseball. That’s just life and it moves in waves. I don’t get paid to play the game and that’s OKAY, which means I have that choice to do whatever I want, when I want on my terms. No commitments or stress (except stress that I create).
  • Crossfit has been amazing the last month or so. My strength has really elevated and I have finally began feeling confident in my abilities and lifts. It took a year but my goodness it’s worth it. I also have to thank Sean Sowney and Steve Clark for aiding me in my deadlift and back squat. I’m reaching numbers I never thought I’d reach. I’m excited for the future.
  • Morgan and I have dove head first into our wedding planning. We have putting together our table settings, invitations, and other ‘wedding’ related things the last week and it’s been stressful yet exhilarating. It’s really cool to be involved and have your creative ideas come to life in front of you. Morgan is phenomenal at everything she does and watching her piece every idea together has been riveting, to say the least. The finished product of things are far from finished but the rough drafts are pretty damn cool. Looking forward to everyone seeing the finished product on October 14th. No sneak peaks for anything till then! 😉
  • Friday will be the last REVO of the school year at our church. I cannot believe it’s already June and youth nights are over until September. To see the changes in these kids and young adults have been inspiring. I cant wait to see what God has in store for them. It’s been an honor mentoring them and I’m excited for next year.

There’s been a couple other things I’m sure but I can’t think of them right now. Oh well, this is more than enough.

I pray all of you have a wonderful and healthy weekend and Father’s Day! Lord knows how important my Dad is to me so I hope all the Dad’s across the nation feel loved everyday.

God bless,


Vegas, Fear, and new podcast

13062353_10154114487352604_7381534482861918267_nI wish I could sit here and believe that I do not fear things. I wish I could utilize the whole Proverbs 29:25 verse that says ‘trusting God is safe; fearing man is not.’

Basically if all I fear is the Lord my God how I can possibly fear anything else in this world of man? Unfortunately, that just looks and sounds good to me. Gotta be honest. I fear many things, naturally. I’m not a robot.

This weekend I’ll be heading to Las Vegas for a few days and it’ll be the first time I will be on a plane for longer than two hours. So double that and more and I’m in Vegas.




I am a God-fearing man but I fear a lot of what man has to offer. Reality is perspective, it really is. My perspective is significantly different from the next person, the person next that person, and so on and so forth. \

One of my biggest fears are flying on an airplane. Ever since I was 10 years old I just fear them. Now, it’s a control thing. I have a car and I like driving everywhere because I’m in control of the vehicle and direction. I can see and visualize what’s ahead. On a plane I have to sit there and put my life in the hands of two pilots, who knows what their lifestyle is like and how their day is going.

These, along with other things, are what flows through my brain as I approach the flight. Nonetheless, I’ll be on a plane headed almost five hours west this weekend. Thank God for technology and in-flight WiFi so I can watch WWE Payback while strapped into my seat for hours on end. 😉

Should be a very good PPV for WWE. There are some great matches on tap as I think the Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro & Sheamus will steal the show. When the pieces fit, tag matches are the best. I think Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe will tear the house down as well. It’s the first PPV since Wrestlemania so the energy should be high. Which means the WWE will find a way to turn off said projected energy. 🙂

I’ll be starting a new podcast soon. The podcast will be appropriately named ‘Barbells and Mayhem.’ I don’t know how to generalize the show or a thesis for it. I told my good buddy ‘Big Tom’ that the best way I can describe it is like ‘Seinfeld.’ Take it from there.

I already have some big guests ready to come one ranging from pro wrestling, Philadelphia sports, and the world of crossfit. It should be lots of fun and I’m looking to shake up the world I just want to have fun with a medium I thoroughly enjoy.

So, look for the official start date soon.

I’m debating on what I want to do in Las Vegas. So far, I’m doing both Criss Angel ‘Mindfreak‘ shows, I believe I’ll hit up Crossfit Las Vegas at some point, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and maybe a spa day if it doesn’t destroy the ol’ bank account.’

I’m looking forward to this mental break. There’s a lot of new things happening in my life that I’ll get into later on so this break will be fantastic. I’m very blessed to have this opportunity to get to a place I thought I’d never get to. Because of fear.

I will catch you all down the road with some solid news and updates.

God bless and be good 😉


Wrestlemania 33 Review


Photo: WWE

Sunday night April 2nd, 2017 will go down as one of the most memorable events in the history of professional wrestling and its fans.

Wrestlemania 33 has come and gone and now all we, as fans, have our reflections and opinions. We witnessed the return of one of the greatest tag-teams in pro wrestling history, Hardy Boyz, as they returned to capture the WWE Raw Tag-Team Championships in a ladder match.

We saw Seth Rollins put on a near 5-star performance with the Triple H just weeks after suffering a torn MCL.

Lastly, and most indelible, in what seems to have been the final match we will witness from The Undertaker. If you had a dry eye you’re a bigger man than me. I will spare the cliff notes version because we will see everything again on Monday Night Raw and the internet.

Here are my match-by-match opinions based on a 5-star rating.

AJ Styles def. Shane McMahon- 3***

  • Match length: 20:09- This match kicked of Wrestlemania 33 and it was simply OKAY. Shane McMahon looked highly unprepared for this contest in comparison to his match last year against The Undertaker. I thought McMahon blew up (gassed) within the first 8-10 minutes. It doesn’t help the fact that WWE creative booked him against a world class wrestler in AJ Styles. The match lacked the prototypical ‘big bump’  from Shane and was overall a regular wrestling match. Not horrible but far from great. Three stars for me as this would’ve been more suited for Summerslam not the biggest thrill ride ever. Styles was a great opponent for Shane but not vice versa. Wish Styles was the one facing Wyatt for the World title instead of Orton.

Kevin Owens def. Chris Jericho for the United States Championship- 4****

  • Match length: 16:20- For some reason WWE gave Shane and Styles more time than this match. I don’t get it. Other then HHH/Rollins this match was really the only other match that actually had a solid storyline built into it. To be honest, both Owens and Jericho have arguably had the best year together and individually in 2016-early 2017. Good wrestling match but didn’t have a chance to completely tell the story they could’ve if they would’ve been given an extra 5-10 minutes. Jericho is a living legend right now and is the last breed of the Attitude Era still around since The Undertaker is riding of into the sunset. Luckily for us, Jericho seems to be far from done as he continues to get better and better. As for Owens, he’s the new United States Champion and is one of the top heels and hands in the entire company. Sky continues to be the limit for Owens.

Bayley(c) def. Charlotte, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship- 3***

  • Match length- 12:09- Twelve minutes?! Really, twelve minutes? These women have been one of the biggest draws in the company since the beginning of 2016 and they earn only twelve minutes at Wrestlemania 33. I thought it was rushed and poorly booked. Nia Jax had no business being in this match. Her character just isn’t there yet and her in-ring work is shotty at best. Needed a much longer stint in NXT, in my opinion. Not a Jax fan whatsoever. It’s evident when she is eliminated 2-3 minutes into the match. Charlotte is incredible. She really is. She will hopefully main event a Wrestlemania one day in the future because she’s phenomenal. A freak athlete with legendary bloodlines she continues to shine in every which way, except her overacting promo work. Bayley had her deserved Wrestlemania moment but don’t let that overtake the prowess of Charlotte Flair.

The Hardy Boyz def. Enzo & Cass, Gallows & Anderson (c), and Cesaro & Sheamus- 4.5****

  • Match length: 11:05- It’s crazy to go back and watch this match over again and realize it was barely over 11 minutes long. For a tag-team ladder match at Wrestlemania one would think it be a little longer but thanks in large part to the return of The Hardy Boyz the match felt just right. The Hardy’s hit their pop spots and looked good doing it. They captured their seventh WWE tag title reign. I feel bad for the other three teams in this match because they’ve had a rather long buildup throughout the last few months only to be bounced out of the picture by the returning Hardy’s. It’ll be interesting where the Hardy’s go from here as I assume a program with the Club is inevitable.

John Cena and Nikki Bella def. The Miz and Maryse- 1*

  • Match length: 9:40- Honestly, this was the most irrelevant match on the Wrestlemania card to begin with. It’s a shame this is what it’s come to for Cena. He’s an attention whore. And it’s sad. He’s pure gimmick. Sad. He proposed after their win and Bella said yes. Yay. 

Seth Rollins def. Triple H- 5*****

  • Match length: 25:30- For starters, this match had one of the best video packages I’ve seen the WWE produce in years. Maybe since HBK vs. Undertaker WM25. Without a doubt the best match of the night and had the best story and promo leading up to it. I’m not being biased because it would make me look stupid but other than AJ Styles I truly believe Seth Rollins is the best performer in the world. I do. Six weeks ago Rollins had invasive knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the already surgically repaired knee. That’s insane. He went out in front of 75,000+ people and went to battle with one of the greats of all time in Triple H and wrestled a 25-minute match. Incredible. The match itself had everything a main event should have. It told a story. It was a pro wrestling match. It it weren’t for Reigns-Undertaker this match could’ve ended the biggest thrill ride in Orlando.

Randy Orton def. Bray Wyatt (c) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship- 3***

  • Match length: 10:30- I think this match was a victim of timing. The event was running long by this point and the crowd was dead. It’s a shame nobody cares about Randy Orton in 2017 because of how great he is. Bray Wyatt is a stud who’s been underutilized since day one of his character. I personally believe this whole program fell short for me and that’s on Orton. He’s a robot character and belongs in mid-card stories at this point. Once PG programming took over Orton’s ‘Viper’ character died. There were some cool visual effects in the ring throughout but overall it was a bad matchup and Wyatt dropping the title to Orton made zero sense to all of us watching. Great Wyatt entrance, bad match, and bad timing earns three stars for this.

Brock Lesnar def. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship- 4***

  • Match length: 4:45- This war ended giving us exactly what we wanted, at least four minutes. It was the immovable force vs. the immovable force and it was a mack truck crash. There was no selling just straight power and carnage. Goldberg speared Lesnar through the outside barricade near the announce tables, Lesnar sent Goldberg to suplex city over 10 times. It was a stopwatch match and was more then we hoped. It wasn’t the ‘bloodbath’ Goldberg promised but it was fun. Lesnar defeated Goldberg with an F5 to procure the WWE Universal Title.

Roman Reigns def. The Undertaker- 5*****

  • Match length: 23:05- I won’t elaborate on this too much because by this point we all what occurred and the magnitude of it. Reigns defeated The Undertaker in what is most likely the last time we will ever see Taker inside a WWE ring competing. It was truly the end of a era. The end of a generation. The Undertaker did what he had to do for the business when on the way out and that’s lose to the next torch carrier. That’s Reigns in the eyes of the WWE. Undertaker hand picked Reigns, that’s probably the truth of it all. WWE has always stood by the fact that they will let Taker decide who, what, and when would be his last rodeo. It was Wrestlemania 33 against Roman Reigns. We all have to accept and respect that decision. Not happy of course, but respect. The Undertaker is the greatest character in the history of sports entertainment and that will never change. Twenty-seven years with one company and basically one character. That’s unheardof. It’s honestly difficult to put into words what The Undertaker what has meant not only to the WWE but to myself and the fans of pro wrestling. He was the constant. That’s the best word to describe him. The leader, the judge, and the Phenom. One day soon I’ll do a post for The Undertaker but not here. For now, the last gunslinger in the WWE is riding off into the sunset. #ThankYouTaker

Opening Day

13615004_10154919122123492_4868883357131644879_nSunday marks Opening Day for myself and the SJ Monarchs baseball team. It’ll mark the third summer since my buddy Kyle and I built this thing. Although, we haven’t gotten the results we shooted for things have been growing and moving in the right direction.

Another great thing that’s come from this baseball team is lifelong friendships. Some of the guys of our team will forever be part of my life and only baseball can create that sort of bond with different people. There’s just something about the sport that brings guys from all different places together win, lose, or draw.

While I know the things I stated in my previous post, this is not my final season playing baseball. God willing, I believe I physically have many more years to go and mentally the game has become easy for me. I’m blessed to be a student of the game of baseball and the game has given me immense joy over the last 20+ years. I’ll play as long as God (and family) allows me to.

I’m hoping to have a solid season production wise. I bulked up since last July in terms of muscle mass and I’ll know quickly if it benefitted me or hurt me. My mobility feels the same, however, we will see how the range of motion and speed will react once a ball is hit into centerfield. I batted over .450 last summer which was decent but I can’t expect the same kind of production. I wouldn’t mind a .350 summer.

I love playing, still smiling, still productive, and still look forward to Sunday’s.

Monday, April 3rd, will kick off the 2017 season for the Philadelphia Phillies. I’m not expecting much, around 75-80 wins, but there’s nothing better than having something to do every night for at least six months. I’m excited for players like Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco. I believe Herrera is a .310 or better hitter and he’s getting better every year. Franco, has some serious holes in his swing but can easily be a 30-HR, 90-100 RBI guy.

The prospects will be up periodically throughout the season and it’ll be cool to see what the future may look like. I’m not expecting much for the next couple years except growth and progression.

There’s a lot of cocky baseball fans out there and I’m not one of them. I’m not a pro player nor do I own any team. I’m a fan and that’s what I’ll always be. I’ll forever support the Philadelphia Phillies because that’s my squad. And I’ll never have anything against anyone who isn’t. Love who you love but don’t be a jerk about it because it just makes you look like a fool.

Well, I’ll sign off for now. Wrestlemania is this Sunday! It’s my Super Bowl.

My predictions: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Brock Lesnar, Bayley, Enzo & Cass, Bray Wyatt, John Cena & Nikki Bella, Austin Aries, Baron Corbin, Braun Stroman.

Hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Easter holiday. Let’s also realize and remember why Easter is celebrated. It’s not about a bunny or chocolate or eggs. It’s about our salvation. It’s about our Lord and Savior BEATING death granting us eternal salvation and a way into eternity in heaven.

That’s what I’ll celebrate.

God bless all of you, and happy baseball 🙂




Spring, Baseball, and Vegas


Photo- Google

It’s been about six weeks since my last post. Been ridiculously busy and stressed so I didn’t have much time to sit and type a little bit.

A lot has been going on. Lots of changes, heartache, tribulations, and triumphs. Life is good, I cannot complain. Well, at least not here I won’t.

Spring is officially here, according to the calendar. Still only 45 degrees outside but the sun is out. Not too bad. Thirteen days from today summer baseball officially begins for my team the South Jersey Monarchs. There’s plenty of excitement in the air heading into this season as the league made some significant changes that will benefit teams who have struggled. We made some key additions during the offseason and hopefully this will boost the team and give us a much needed push in the standings.

Baseball is Americana man, and I thank God everyday that I’m still able to physically and mentally play this game. I don’t know what 2018 will bring as this may be swan song year based off what I pray life will bring me and my fiance is the near future. However, I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Once you’re married and trying to build a family it’s really difficult (for me) to ask my wife to give up every weekend for the majority of the summer. She works incredibly hard and if she wants to go somewhere during the weekends then she deserves my attention.

Again, we will see what 2018 brings and if 2017 impacts those decisions. I wouldn’t be too upset if this is my final summer playing baseball as God gave me 25 years of it. Once again, can’t complain about it. I’ll miss great friends dearly but I’m just a little further in life than them right now and that’s quite alright. They should enjoy every minute they have the ability to play the greatest game on earth.

Nonetheless, I’m pumped to put my jersey and cleats on and go to war with my buddies.

It’s official: I’m going to Las Vegas in May and I’ll be flying….on an airplane….for almost five hours. I won’t go into detail but those who know me will understand my struggle with that important tidbit.

I’m most excited to be completing a dream of sorts while over there. Thanks to my selfless, observant, and beautiful bride-to-be, we will be sitting 12 rows from Criss Angel performing MINDFREAK LIVE! at the Luxor. There are no words on how much this means to me.

I’ve been a Loyal of Angel’s since 2005 and he’s been a true role model of mine and I never thought I’d actually be able to see him live in Las Vegas at the Luxor. That dream will become a reality in a matter of weeks. Believe that. I don’t publicly discuss how much I appreciate and follow Criss Angel often because people have opinions and judgements I make great attempts to avoid humans on that aspect of my life haha! Only my close friends get it. And I’m sure they balk at it too!

Wrestlemania 33 will commence on April 2nd and the show is shaping up to be pretty decent. Not how I’d write the card but it’s my superbowl and I can’t wait to sit and watch it with my fiance and closest friends. Good luck to all the men and women who lay it all on the line at the Showcase of Immortals.

I recently became a Distributor with AdvoCare I’m excited for the opportunities it could bring. I’ve used their products for almost a year now and will vouch for them. I don’t promote anything I don’t use or like. I’m not a salesman. However, I love the products and if you’re looking to enhance your fitness or overall health in a natural, herbal way hit me up and I’ll shoot straight with you. I want to see you be healthier and stronger than ever 😉

I’ll be back soon with another post. I won’t wait over a month to be back here. Have a great week all.

God bless,




Just tired…

Photo: Onnit

I wrote a week ago or so how it’s been a terrible few weeks of fitness in 2017. That was then.
This is now.

I’m still struggling. We are in week six of our eight week cycle at Crossfit Mt. Laurel and I think my body needs a break. Not long, maybe just a week.

Not going to happen. I can’t just take a week off. I’ve tried that before and I was off, mentally and physically off. Crossfit is a total outlet and lifestyle for me. Even my fiance, Morgan, tells me how different I am when I don’t go workout. It completely changes my psyche on a day-to-day basis.

Getting back to the main part of this post, I’m tired and I’m beginning to feel it more and more each day. My strength has simply not been where I want it to be and it’s killing me. My front squat and snatch was absolutely brutal the last two weeks. Last week I PR’d my clean and jerk which meant a lot to me because my form felt ‘good.’ PR’ing over 20lbs was a big deal but not good enough.

My body hasn’t responded like I had hoped to start 2017 and I’ve heard from others that I need to take a break possibly. I don’t think that’s the overlying issue. To be quite frankly, I believe it’s doubt and a bout of low self-esteem. I’ve struggled for a long time with body image. I’ve always pictured a certain image of how I want to look. It doesn’t matter how many compliments I receive daily because I instantly shoot them down internally. 

Therein lies the underlying issue: self doubt. We can throw in self-pity too if you’re feeling frisky. Morgan despises when I, in her words, ‘talk down about the man I love.’ And she’s right. But it just consumes me. 

Of course I know who I am and who’s I am. The almighty creator of this world knitted me wonderfully and beautifully. I get that. I do. And a majority of me wants to make sure that temple He created looks and feels as best as it can be. Am I doing a tip-top job? Doubtful. It’s not easy. 

The body is an incredible machine, but most people only get out of that machine what their mind allows them to.” – Rich Froning

I destroy myself mentally on a daily basis on numerous things: body, finances, Provider, pastor, and Protector. I work at being and controlling almost of those each day. But it’s hard work. 

The ultimate measure of a champion is not where he stands at times of comfort and convenience, but at times of challenge and adversity. I need to repeat that to myself each morning. 

I’ll admit that on numerous occasions I body shame myself because of what and who I see online or at my gym. It’s no way to live because instantaneously I’ve already psyched myself out, doubt enters the brain and I’m toast before I even put my fingers on the bar. 

I love crossfit. It’s awoken something in me that’s never been seen before. A fire that burns each time I sign up for my class. Then some nights or mornings I walk in the door and I’m just…..gone. And I refuse to accept that.  

The last few weeks are proof that the mind can control your body in every way. I don’t believe my body is tired. I think I’ve mentally hurt my strength and abilities with how I think. It has to stop. And it will.

 Follow your dreams and work hard. There’s no replacement for hard work, and that’s true for any field. If you work at it, you’re going to see the fruits of your labor. I guarantee it.” – Colby Lopez

Rebuild. Redesign. Reclaim. 

When Faith gets tested, keep it

I often field questions about my faith on a weekly basis. A lot of those questions come from young adults ranging from grades 9-12 and adults who knew me 10 years ago or just recently.

I don’t know if there’s a general interest or people are looking for me to break and show that it’s been a facade. Answer is simple: It’s not a facade and I break everyday.

I sin every minute because I’m a human being who’s not perfect but I try everyday. It’s a choice each and every morning to make time for Christ. When I wake up in the morning and if the first thing I think about is grabbing my phone to check messages then there’s a problem. That may be an addiction issue. But i’m guilty of that. I’ve done it many times and I’m not proud of it.

Every Friday night for over three hours I spend time with close to 100 kids who are impressionable and going through the toughest aspect of growth, puberty. And high school isn’t all rainbows and unicorns either. It’s not easy to preach to them or tell them how they should act. The best thing I can do is know my strengths as a leader and lead by example. Do some kids pull me aside and talk to me privately? Absolutely and I cherish those moments because they trust me and I don’t want to let them down.

I take the same approach with my adult friends. I’m not sure if they trust me or count on me to give them answers or to guide them in right directions but relationships are very important to me.

I liken our relationship with God similar to our relationships with other people. At the beginning, everything is new and cool but there comes a time when the dynamics of the relationship begin to change and a Christian becomes more centered, more rational, and more aware that the walk with God is no cakewalk. And that’s eye opening and not an easy pill to swallow.

Peter writes about that in the New Testament when talking about how God gets us through various trials.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

Although I’ve experienced and enjoyed the highs and lows of my walk with Christ, I would not trade any of the scars and battle wounds because they remind me of how faithful Christ has been to me.

There were people who told me in the beginning that I was going through the ‘honeymoon’ period and things wouldn’t always seem so wonderful. Of course they were right. Where I stand right now has taken a different shape from when I first announced Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

With everything going on in the world today with the hate, politics, and choosing of sides I have to constantly remind myself that man will destroy man but there’s only ONE solution for me and that’s to rely on the promises God told me.

A lot of people today are unbearable to read at or listen to because everything they say are judgemental, political, and full of hate. I can’t live like that it’s too encompassing and mentally draining. Social media has recently taken a complete turn for the worst.

Pastor Steven Furtick said a few years back that ‘We compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.’ And that slogan has stuck with me and I try to live through that ever day I click on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

I struggle everyday with trying to be something I’m not or hating myself when I look into the mirror but I know it’s a problem and I just have to tell myself who I am and Who’s I am. It’s not easy growing up in this world and I see how difficult it is when I meet with these high schoolers every single week. It’s a completely different scene from when I was there age 10 or so years ago. It’s truly mesmerizing.

Look, I have a lot of problems just like everyone else but I’ll never hide them from people. We don’t have enough time on this earth to hide those things. I’m happy that in today’s day of age people are more accepted than in the past for their interests or fashions but it’s still a tough crowd there, so please guard your heart.

The Lord has me every moment of every day and He will forever meet me where I am. That is something I can worship and hold on to. Not crossfit, not pro wrestling, not baseball. But Jesus Christ is my constant and He’s never let me down yet.

Faith can move mountains. And when yours gets tested, keep it and watch the favor shift back. Be patient and be grateful for this day.

Snatch and Rope Mayhem

On the day when Disney announced the title of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi, I will attempt to PR my toughest lift. The Snatch.

To this day, the snatch has been my toughest lift. I don’t believe weight is the issue as much as form. My form struggle mightily on this lift because I think too much. No excuses. I think way too much during some of these olympic lifts that it alters my results.

Since the new year I’ve been struggling with my confidence in the crossfit gym. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. I’m such a competitor that sometimes I check myself out when I’m pissed. I put a lot of pressure on myself each time I step on the mat to workout. I’m not a pleasure to be around. Not saying that’s acceptable but I expect a lot out of myself.

The people who train me are inspirations to all of us who walk into Crossfit Mt. Laurel and I struggle to make them proud. The focus isn’t on me but I put that single spotlight on myself and when I fail it crushes me.

Yes, this isn’t my job but I take it very seriously. There’s plenty of time to laugh, joke around, or be a community but once the timer begins it’s all business. I have not performed to the best of my abilities and things must change. And I’m confident they will. And I believe it’ll start tonight.

It’s a necessity to get out of my own head. No thinking just doing. This week we entered the halfway point of the eight week cycle and I’ve seen minor improvements. My power cleans, toes to bar, clean and jerks, and back squats are strong. So there’s an optimistic view.

My issue is that I want to be Rich Froning everyday and when I fail I destroy myself over it. I don’t mean I want to actually be Froning, because I don’t. I enjoy being Chris but I mean from a Crossfit point of view I want to reach that point. I want to be confident with each lift or WOD I perform. I’m not at that level.

I can’t even climb a friggan rope 15ft.

Again, impossible I know as he’s the fittest man in history. Notwithstanding, those are the goals I put in my own head. Unfair? Yes. Wrong? Absolutely not!

I’ll continue to bust my behind in these lifts and WOD’s, however, things have to improve. In the kitchen, off days, and inside the gym. I can’t anymore failure. I know I always tell people to embrace failure and learn to love it. It’s damn hard to practice what I preach.

But I’ll PR the snatch Monday night and will hopefully climb a rope 15 ft someday soon.

It’s a big week with many plans on the calendar. Most importantly, this Sunday is the Royal Rumble! My favorite WWE event of the year.

My Rumble winner: Samoa Joe.

Prayer of the Day:

Today I pray that I not let worry or doubt invade my thinking. I believe God is in control, therefore I know everything will work out fine.

Christmas and 2017

Separation anxiety from Christmas has settled in, however, when my favorite holiday passes it’s usually a pristine time for me to sit back and reflect on the year as it nears the end. But with the end of 2016 comes the beginning of a new year, a fresh start.

I truly think I had the best Christmas I’ve ever had in my life. And that credit goes to my fiance, friends, and family. There aren’t enough words to describe how special those said people are to me and as individuals. They’re truly unbelievable and God-given.

Morgan knows me better than anyone and she proved that in 2016. I think I did quite well as a man haha. But I’ll let her tell y’all that. Morgan, I love you more than anyone and anything ever and I’m pumped for 2017 and what’s to come for us.

Reflection. This past year has been a crazy one. I know when it comes to Hollywood it’s been horrid. On this end, it was tremendous. I got engaged, met and fell in love with her family, found Crossfit, witnessed my hero get inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, had a lot of firsts, and had a great summer with baseball.

There were a couple down moments as well. Relationship struggles, heat with family and friends, and stopping a podcast I’ve had for a few years. I would love to do the podcast thing again at some point as I know I’m better than most of what is out there. I just don’t feel like spending the money for all of the resources. I’d rather donate that to my church family or save for a home and children. You know, priorities.

2016 also brought forth REVO Youth Ministry. Kingsway Church in Cherry Hill are my family. They have brought me closer to God more than anyone. I was baptized last summer and it was awesome. It was an eye opening event for me and I haven’t looked back. I’m excited for 2017 and what God has in store for Kingsway and I’m very blessed and honored to be part of the staff there.

Now, looking ahead to 2017. I’m not one for resolutions because they’re gimmicks. Be strong and just ‘do things.’ Don’t rely on an overused slogan to better yourself. 

Set goals. I have goals for myself. Let’s roll them off. 

1- Be a better man of faith. I want to be better for God. I want to prove myself to not only Christ but my Fiancé that I can and will be the Pastor, Provider, and Protector of our home. Big changes need to be made and they will be. That goes for everything. 

2- Crossfit needs to become a huge priority in my life. Not that it isn’t already but I need to excel to higher heights and dedicated myself to that lifestyle. When it comes to competition I have an addictive personality, good or bad it’s who I am. Some may say it’s being a sore loser, I don’t care what you call it that’s your prerogative. I love Crossfit. I absolutely love it. It’s pushed me further than I thought I could go and I need more. There’s a lot I want to accomplish and I’m praying heavy that God allows me to continue to push myself mentally and physically. And I’m grateful Morgan is fully supporting this passion of mine. 

3- To be a better friend/son/brother/nephew/etc. I need to be a better example for everyone I come in contact with. Whether that person is far from Christ or not, I need to be more evolved. I need the gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate from my spirit to others. And that starts with family and friends. 

4- To be a better teammate. Whether I like it or not guys on my baseball team look up to me and I need to be that leader. I enjoy that role, to a point. I don’t have it all together myself but I’d rather be there for my teammates then worry about my batting average. 

5- To be a better employee. No matter where life may take me in 2017 I need to be a better employee. It’s vital for character to work hard and be successful. I get paid to do a job and it do it right and that’s my focus when I clock in until I leave for the day. 

6- Embrace failure. Love failure. Learn from failure. Relish in failure. Urge myself to fail as many times as possible. 

7- To be the best Chris DiFrancesco I can possibly be. I need to be content with the blessing God has given me. I have love myself and not worry about about anyone’s opinion of me. The only opinion I need is what’s representative on the Cross. That is the only opinion I need. The Great I Am loves me. And that’s an understatement. 

As of now that’s all I got. I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Years Holiday. I’ll talk to you all very soon. 

Prayer for the Day

Father, forgive me for my shortcomings and continous sin. Father, I was lost and I want to be found. I pray that I maintain a strong faith in the midst of both troubles and need triumphs. Father, I pray that when I get knocked down you are always there to pick me up with Grace and mercy.